Acumen "interesting projects" Reviews | Glassdoor

Acumen Employee Reviews about "interesting projects"

Updated Feb 23, 2018

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3.2
59%
Recommend to a Friend
42%
Approve of CEO
Acumen CEO Thomas MaCurdy (no image)
Thomas MaCurdy
84 Ratings
Pros
  • "Worked on interesting projects and learned a lot(in 11 reviews)

  • "Don't expect to learn any pick up programming or project management skills that reflect industry standards(in 10 reviews)

Cons
  • "Work/Life balance is extremely difficult(in 19 reviews)

  • "Very low salaries for Bay Area and not at par with other consulting/analytic companies(in 16 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

Reviews about "interesting projects"

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  1. Helpful (2)

    "Great first job out of undergrad"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Health Care Data & Policy Analyst I & II in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Acumen full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Worked on interesting projects and learned a lot. Mangers/coworkers were friendly and eager to teach. Fun work environment. Good work/life balance.

    Cons

    My career development started to stagnate. Ultimately left to pursue a master's degree. Also, the company was experiencing some growing pains as it was growing rapidly.

    Acumen2018-02-23
  2. Helpful (9)

    "Benefits are poor and management needs help"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Acumen full-time

    Pros

    - Very smart co-workers - Interesting projects - Monthly lunches - Limited fruit twice a week - Great parking lot

    Cons

    - Other reviews are correct, the benefits are very poor here. People have to fight for fruit and snacks every week. If you happen to be in a meeting when the snacks, fruit, or any kind of food comes out, tough luck. - Unbalanced workload. If you are in a senior position, you will have a heavy workload. Work is not evenly distributed and taking time to update or improve a processes is not prioritized. - Limited... shuttle from the Bart station. If you try to come in early or stay at work past 6pm, you effectively do not have a ride to the Bart Station. - HR does not take feedback very well. Observing their response to these reviews are a great example. Some of these reviews are very specific about the issue yet HR requests for the reviewer to talk to them in person. It seems like HR rather focus on who is unhappy than resolving the issue for everyone. - HR updates policy or change benefits without broadcasting to the employees. It is very hard to find any relevant information. For example, employee bonus policy or 4 year PTO bonus policy is unclear. Unless you know someone that has the email from that one time HR sent it out years ago, it will be very hard to figure out what the surrounding policy is. - You do not get Veteren's Day or MLK day off.

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    Advice to Management

    Employees will stay if there is interesting work and they are treated respectfully. Don't try to hide policy changes or communications about cuts away from us. It does not work and it sows animosity.

    Acumen2018-01-29
  3. Helpful (8)

    "Interesting research, unhealthy culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Burlingame, CA

    I worked at Acumen full-time

    Pros

    -Interesting projects. -If you have a good manager and respectful team, this can be a great place to work.

    Cons

    -Managers can be terrible, with some in position due to cults of personality rather than creativity, ingenuity or intelligence. No manager development program. Some managers are blatantly disrespectful, dishonest, and/or sexist. -High turnover, resulting in periodic overwork -Sub-optimal performance review system that encourages backstabbing but doesn't close the information loop and provide constructive... feedback. -Acumen has implemented a policy that current managers can't provide references to employees who are leaving the company. This is a huge red flag; HR is aware that the culture is bad, and the response is not to improve the situation, but rather to limit your options as you leave.

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    Advice to Management

    When you have a gender-imbalanced promotion ratio or a mass exodus from a team--especially a mass exodus of women from a team--look at the management. HR: you're not just there to protect the status quo. Listen in on some meetings and see how frequently women talk and are interrupted. It's disheartening.

    Acumen2017-10-27
  4. Helpful (9)

    "Believe the good and definitely believe the bad"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Data and Policy Analyst in Burlingame, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Acumen for more than 3 years

    Pros

    - Interesting projects that offer great exposure to the healthcare field through projects that matter and working with big data. - Flexible work environment - they seem to let people work remotely all the time. - Smart and diverse set of colleagues. - Some competent managers, but it really is dumb luck where you end up as analysts do not typically get a say in which teams they are assigned to and once assigned... have little mobility within the company. - You can progress up the management chain if you prove yourself worthy. This is uneven though as some teams seems to value dynamism and encourage employee growth whereas others have very stringent management styles that stifle growth.

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    Cons

    - Massive retention issues and low gross pay that are incompatible to living comfortably in the Bay area. - Long work hours and concurrently low hourly wages. More recently, they seem to be having issues attracting strong talent meaning that competent analysts bear a disproportionate burden of work. - Turf wars among upper management seem common. This can make for a fairly toxic environment with a lot of... back biting that make for lots of negative interactions for junior analysts. - Poor management and lack of communication. Managers always seem to be on the defensive, sometimes for no explicable reason. - Employees are viewed as disposable, no matter how long they've worked at the company or what they've done for it. - Lots of unhappy employees, which makes for a demotivating environment overall. This is not surprising given the issues outlined above. - None of these issues are unique to my perspective and have been documented by multiple parties over several years. Take them seriously if you are considering working at the company. Ultimately, the cons outweigh the pros and that does not bode well for the company.

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    Advice to Management

    The content is interesting and important, but whatever ongoing management issues there are need to be addressed. It seems like the company is slowly starting to train mid-level managers (effect remains to be seem), but upper management could use training in specific topics, including: - Maintaining a positive work environment. - Treating employees (even lower level analyst who they may not work with) like humans... and with respect. Even acknowledging that they exist would be good start. - Genuinely valuing employees; many have contributed in significant ways to the growth of the company. Also think about how compensation relative to the Bay Area. This seems to be sticking point across reviews and year-to-year the company seems to get worse while the cost of living in the Bay Area keeps rising. All of these factors affect the day to day for employees and the content cannot be the only reason for employees to come in to work and give it their best.

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    Acumen2017-02-24
  5. Helpful (11)

    "Not a good place to start your career"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
     in Burlingame, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Acumen

    Pros

    * Intelligent, nice people * Lagoon for midday walks * (Some) interesting projects * Free fruit/snacks/lunch every so often * If you are passionate about health policy, you'll probably enjoy it

    Cons

    * Terrible pay * Luck of the draw for the project you get assigned to (both in terms of management and client). Some grant autonomy, some do not * Work tends to be monotonous * Very little career development opportunities. The skills you pick up here help you succeed at Acumen, but are (mostly) not transferrable to other jobs * Lots of turnover. Many people choose to leave without anything lined up * Commuter... shuttle is a sickening experience * Almost entirely new grads. Others have pointed out that this results in inexperienced managers, but I'd argue that that in itself is not a major problem (there are managers that truly care). The main problem that this creates is a lack of diverse experiences from which to draw from. * A lot of knowledge silos * Not a lot of nearby lunch options

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    Advice to Management

    * Increase pay. Money is not everything, but starting salaries make it very difficult to live in the Bay Area. * Increase the frequency of the all-hands meeting. This should reduce the number of knowledge silos. * Hire more people with work experience (to be fair, probably a hard recruiting pitch)

    Acumen2016-09-09
  6. Helpful (19)

    "Believe the negative reviews here. DO NOT work here!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Data & Policy Analyst Level III in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Acumen for more than 3 years

    Pros

    - reasonably interesting projects - opportunity to learn some professional/client management/communication skills Stay for at most a year and get what you can out of it

    Cons

    - Terrible leadership that does not care about its employees and views employees as replaceable. - Extremely poorly trained managers that are either a hit or miss. - Uncompetitive analyst/programmer salaries. - Inconvenient location - Lack of perks/benefits relative to other Bay Area companies - Unhappy workforce that's stuck at the company largely because of Acumen's H1B/foreign visa sponsorship - Very... unhelpful HR department that cares more about protecting themselves than advocating on behalf of employees. - Did I mention severe lack of experienced leadership? My starting salary as a data & policy analyst was ~50k/year. A comparable role at most Bay Area startups pays at least 50% more. Don't even get me started on Acumen's programmer salaries, which are truly abysmal by Bay Area standards. Just do your own research and check out the salary ranges offered at healthcare startups on angellist.com before you make a decision! This company is only able to lure fresh college graduates who don't know any better.

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    Advice to Management

    - Offer higher salaries - Care about your employees - Hire experienced leadership, especially for HR department

    Acumen2016-07-09
  7. Helpful (7)

    "Great research, poor management"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee -  
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Acumen full-time

    Pros

    Can only speak to the research side. You will gain great research experience. You will become an expert at SAS. Acumen has a lot of great data. I only got to work on one area, but it seemed like there was a wide variety of interesting projects. While the skills are somewhat niche, they can be carried over to jobs at other research firms or in the health industry if you want. Most of the people you will work with... are smart and are largely in their 20's. This can give it a sort of college or startup vibe, although without the perks. Its pretty social. The company is in the peninsula, but has a nice location right on the bay.

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    Cons

    Project management was particularly bad at Acumen. From what I could tell, senior management did not understand the importance of having a clear reporting structure and clear, timely direction. It was difficult to know who was in charge of the project at any given time. This led to miscommunication, missed deadlines, last minute work, and constant lurching from one strategy to another. These problems are especially... prevalent in work involving the CEO. The stress from these problems leads many people to leave after a year or two. Conflict management is poor; managers tend to ignore problems or sweep them under the rug rather than dealing with issues in a mature, open and honest way. If you're looking to learn from or be mentored by someone more experienced, this may not be the place for you, as most managers, including some senior ones, are only a few years out of college. On the flip side, you can rise higher and gain more responsibility faster than you would somewhere else.

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    Advice to Management

    Read up on project management

    Acumen2014-03-12
  8. Helpful (1)

    "Smart people doing interesting projects"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Acumen full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Smart people, interesting projects, a lot of responsibility early on, great learning opportunities

    Cons

    Not enough people, long hours, high stress

    Advice to Management

    Need more transparency and great emphasis on people and work-life balance

    Acumen2013-03-28
  9. Helpful (3)

    "great projects, poor upper management."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Research Analyst 
    Recommends

    I have been working at Acumen

    Pros

    super interesting projects; learn great data skills; gain perspective on health policy and data driven policy making.

    Cons

    passive aggressive, overly dramatic management; lack of control over work load

    Advice to Management

    start listening to all employees; have an open mind; be more trusting; stop micromanaging.

    Acumen2008-12-27
  10. "N/A"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
     
    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Acumen

    Pros

    You get to work on very interesting projects with very talented people.

    Cons

    It's hard to maintain the balance between work and your personal life.

    Acumen2012-02-14
Found 11 reviews